How to Insert a Centered Zipper – DIY Fashion Tutorial

Zippers! Another one of those techniques that everyone seems afraid of!

hoodie vest by SmarmyClothes.com

Fear not, zippers are another one that are super easy once you learn a few tricks and practice a bit.

Difficulty:

For this tutorial, I’ll be inserting a skirt zipper, but the same process can be used for zippers in hoodies, bags, and more, but you’ll need to pay attention to the TYPE of zipper you buy depending on your project.

Standard/conventional zippers are open at one end and closed at the other. That’s the type of zipper we are using for this tutorial. They are suitable for pants, skirts, dresses… anything that you only need to open from one end.

Separating zippers open at both ends, like on a jacket or hoodie. Make sure you buy a separating zipper if you’re planning on making either of those things.

Closed ended zippers are closed at both ends, which makes them perfect for pillow covers and bags. You can easily convert a standard zipper to a close ended zipper by stitching the open end closed.

As far as zipper material, it’s mostly a matter of preference. If you want a non-intrusive zipper, go with a nylon zipper. If you want it to show, I’d recommend metal or plastic.


I’m putting the zipper into the back center seam (between the two back pieces). You could also put the zippper into the side seam of the skirt, but it lays better in back.



Step 1

Line up the back pieces of the skirt Right Sides Together. Pin along the edge of the skirt as shown.




Step 1




Step 2

Sew along this line. You will want somewhere around an inch of seam allowance on each side. The more the merrier with zippers. So remember to take this into consideration when you are cutting out your pieces. Use as long a stitch as possible for this (this is called “basting”).




Step 2




Step 3

Here’s your stitched line.




Step 3

Step 3




Step 4

Press this seam open with an iron, so it lays flat.

 




Step 4




Step 5

Here is the seam pressed flat, with the zipper laid on top where we want it.

 




Step 5




Step 6

Pin the zipper in place. Make sure it’s face down… been there, done that!

 




Step 6




Step 7

Using a zipper foot, begin stitching the zipper to the skirt, starting at the top edge.

You can use a straight stitch or a zig-zag stitch for this.

 




Step 7




Step 8

Stitch until the needle is just past the zipper stop, which is the metal piece that keeps the zipper from coming apart at the bottom edge (indicated by the red arrow).

Make sure the needle is down (pushed into the fabric).

Lift up the presser foot and rotate the fabric so you can sew across the bottom of the zipper.

 




Step 8




Step 9

Once it’s rotated like so, backstitch a few times to really secure the end of the zipper.

 




Step 9




Step 10

Now that you’re on the other side of the zipper, rotate the fabric so you can sew up the rest of it (make sure the needle is down before rotating the fabric).

 




Step 10




Step 11

Now sew up this side of the zipper until you’re back where you started.

 




Step 11




Step 13

Here we are. Backstitch a few times.

 




Step 13




 

Step 14

Here’s the back side of your zipper, all sewn up.

 




Step 14




And here’s the front. We’re almost done.

 







Step 15

Use a seam ripper to remove the basting stitches over the zipper.

 




Step 15




Stop right before the bottom line of stitches that are securing the end of zipper.








Step 16

That’s it! Now you’re zipper is ready for action.

 




Step 16












Finish the top edge of the skirt and you’re finished.

About

My name is Alexis. I have a craft addiction. This is my story. also check out: www.smarmyclothes.com (my clothes) www.whatthecraft.com (my tutorials)

Posted in My Tutorials, Sewing 101 Tagged with: , , , , , ,
20 comments on “How to Insert a Centered Zipper – DIY Fashion Tutorial
  1. Never basted my zippers when putting them in. See it’s usefulness. Thanks for the sharing.

  2. Great basic tutorial and instructional pics for our novice seamstresses! Thanks for the sharing.

  3. OMG! How silly of me. Must have liked this just that much to post comments twice!!

  4. Kinoui says:

    Merci beaucoup pour ce tutoriel ! Je savais monter des fermetures éclair mais cette technique donne un résultat très propre ! Merci et à bientôt !

    Thank you very much for this tutoriel! I knew how to insert zuppers but this technique gives a very clean result ! Thank you and bye !

    Kinoui

  5. Ginger says:

    Thank you for this. Right now I think you are basically God. Fear of zippers is what keeps all of my dresses mostly finished. Do you have a tutorial for how to finish the waistband after putting in the zipper? I see that you placed the zipper down a bit so I assume that leaves the room for the waistband to be topstitched in place and a hook and eye added. Thanks again!!!

  6. Bri says:

    Wow. After reading this I feel like a complete moron! lol I’ve been avoiding zippers because I just had no idea how to attach them, and everything else online was so vague, or in super lingo! THANK YOU SOOOOOOO MUCH!

  7. SylvChezPlum says:

    So cool. I knew there was probably a smart and easy way. Thanks for sharing, now I (hopefully) won’t ruin an otherwise pretty dress with wonky zippers any more !! 😛 😀

  8. helen says:

    well explained and simple technique that helps to avoid all the pitfalls…. i do it this way too but could not have explained it soo clearly! useful
    thanks!

  9. Mabel says:

    This is my go to zipper tutorial. I always refer back to this one. Helpful instructions and pictures. I’m a visual learner so easy to follow photos are mighty useful.

  10. rachel says:

    WOW. I’ve always been terrible at zippers (they always end up crooked) thank you so much! I just finished up a zippered skirt and its near perfect!

  11. Karyl Kemper says:

    thanks smarms….i was just confused on where to PLACE my zipper foot to sew them!!!!! :)you rock!

  12. Estefania says:

    Hi, my problem is when I sew the top of the zipper, just where the pull is. As it is so bulky my machine goes around it and the stitches make a circle… How can I avoid it?

    Thank you very much.

    • Lex says:

      Hi Estefania-
      When you’re stitching the top of the zipper, slide the pull down so it’s out of your way. Once you’ve stitched past the top of the zipper, you can put the pull back to the top while you stitch the rest of that side. When you get back to the top again, just slide the pull down again.

      • Estefanía says:

        Ok, a couple of problems…
        1.-When I begin to stitch and put up the needle to try to open the zipper I do not have enough space to move the pull, it hits with the foot.
        2.-On the other side of the zipper, when I’m finishing the stitching, how do I pull down the zipper if the fabrics are stitched together?

        • Lex says:

          1. Leave the needle in the down position, and then lift the foot. This will keep the fabric from shifting around and should allow you to move the zipper past the foot.
          2. You should be able to move the zipper from the underside by pushing on pull. Sometimes I use the wrong end of a pen… saves my fingernails. :)

  13. Sylvia says:

    I have used “wonder tape” to secure the zipper instead of pins. Do you think this works with your method ?

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